6th Person Charges in SW MO Child Sex Case
SPRINGFIELD - The wife of a church deacon is the latest person charged in a widening case of alleged sex abuse of young girls at two southwest Missouri church communes. Laura Epling faces one count of statutory sodomy for allegedly helping a church pastor abuse a girl who was 15 or 16 a few years ago. The charge was filed yesterday in McDonald County. Laura Epling is the wife of Tom Epling, one of five leaders of two affiliated church communes who face multiple felony counts including statutory sodomy. Prosecutors allege a pattern of sexual abuse going back to the late 1970s against five girls from the two congregations. Laura Epling could not be reached today for comment. No plea has been entered yet. The other five church leaders have all pleaded not guilty.
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